Apple TV loses ground to Roku and Chromecast, drops to 3rd most popular set-top box in U.S.

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A new report compiled by Parker Associates and discovered by Gigaom revealed that the Apple TV has lost some U.S. market share to competitors like the Roku and Chromecast last year, causing it to become only the third most popular device in the category.

According to the report, Google’s Chromecast and the Roku streaming device each sold around 3.8 million units in 2013—though the figure is more impressive in the case of the Chromecast, which was only introduced in the second half of the year. Apple, on the other hand, reportedly moved 2 million devices, putting it just below the others.

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Comcast/Time Warner filing with FCC says Apple exploring new set-top box

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There has been no shortage of indicators that a new version of the Apple TV set-top box is incoming. We reported last year and earlier this year that Apple is progressing on new Apple TV hardware that will include new content, such as an App Store or “Game Store,” references to a new model have appeared in iOS 7 code, and numerous other reports have said that a new box is incoming from Apple.

Today, a filing from Comcast and Time Warner Cable pitching their planned merger to the FCC references Apple’s development of a new set-top-box. Here’s the notable quote from the filing (via Daisuke Wakabayashi):

Today, Google competes as a network, video, and technology provider, and 8 out 9 of the next Google Fiber markets the company announced are in Comcast or TWC areas.  Apple tablets are viewing platforms for cable services even while Apple offers an online video service, Apple TV, and explores development of an Apple set-top box.  Microsoft just announced that it will feature ads on the Xbox One, creating a new video advertising platform.  And just last week, Amazon announced its own set-top box while it continues to leverage its unequaled sales platform and family of competitive tablets to promote its burgeoning Prime Instant Video business.

The bolded portion (emphasis ours) of the above quote says that Apple is exploring development of a new set-top box. The quote comes in context of the cable behemoths explaining why their merger is important amidst growing content competition from the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. While it is possible that the companies are just speculating based on rumors about the next version of the Apple TV, several reports have indicated that Apple has been in direct talks with Time Warner Cable and Comcast regarding a new set-top box…

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Amazon working to move further into hardware space with 3D smartphone, audio device

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announcing new Kindle

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is working to expand its hardware offerings, this year, beyond the Kindle e-readers and tablets (like the Kindle Fire). According to the new report, Amazon is working on two smartphones, including a high-end model with a 3D display. Like other smartphones currently on the market, this display could be interacted with via a user’s eyes:

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